Quito, Ecuador

Pichincha Volcano Trails

Trail runners with a little extra time on their hands won’t want to miss the opportunity to take the Teleférico (cable car) up the side of the enormous Pichincha volcano, located just west of the city. Once to the top, runners can set out from the visitors center on the well-marked single track trail across the Pichincha ridgeline. While there are some rolling hills and the challenge of the high elevation, the cable car helps cut out some of the climbing, making this a fun trail tour of up to 10 km (6 miles) out and back. Be aware that fog frequently shrouds the summit and can make navigation difficult.

For runners who don’t want to take the Teleférico up, a good alternative is Las Antenas del Pichincha. This switchbacking hill climb to the communications towers on the slopes of Pichincha is about 12 km (7.4 miles) one way, starting from Parque Rumipamba, and features some serious elevation gain, with grades averaging 9-10%.

Another great option for an off-road run just outside the city, La Ruta El Cinto Cruz, is a popular open air cycling path. The first 10 km (6.2 miles), beginning from Parque Metropolitano Chilibulo in Lloa, travels through flat pastureland to the Torohuco water plant, which has a great, uncrowded view of Quito. From here the trail steepens to a challenging 11 km (6.8 mile) ascent up to the top of the Teleférico, where it connects with our other route.

Essentials
  • Depends on option chosen
  • Depends on option chosen -- but the Antennas route is seriously hilly
  • Take the Teleférico to the top; for the Antennas route, start at Parque Rumipamba
  • Car generally required to get to the Teleférico